Countries need to promote open trade system: IMF

Cautioning that escalation of trade conflicts and financial market volatility highlight downside risks beyond the next several quarters, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Thursday said countries should work to promote an open and rules based multilateral trade system.

“The momentum behind the cyclical global expansion remains strong. But escalating trade conflicts and financial market volatility highlight downside risks beyond the next several quarters,” Lagarde said at the start of the annual spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

To sustain the upswing, policy makers need to enhance financial sector resilience, start rebuilding policy space, and implement structural reforms – including on corruption and governance, she said.

India has “quite a high” debt to GDP ratio, but New Delhi is trying to lower it using “the right policies”, the International Monetary Fund has said.

India’s general government debt remained relatively high, at 70% of the GDP in 2017, Abdel Senhadji, Deputy Director, IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, told reporters at a news conference here.

“The debt level is relatively high (in India), but the authorities are planning to bring it down over the medium term with the right policies,” Senhadji said.

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